Jazz in Harlem, NewYork

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are staying in Harlem, New York. It’s a grand old neighbourhood that has had its ups and downs. The people are friendly, the streets are wide, the transport is good. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in New York that is a reasonable price, this worm recommends Harlem.

My impressions? People are busy but make an art of taking things easy in Harlem.

The book I’m in

The Serbian Dane, by Leif Davidsen. Things are coming to a climax now.

Travel tip

The subway is good, but try the buses too. They are a bit slower, it’s true, but they are air conditioned and less crowded. The biggest advantage is that you can see the sights as you travel. Route M2 takes you all the way from Harlem to Greenwich Village in about 40 minutes, depending on traffic.

Recommended accommodation

Easy Living Harlem, 214 West 137th Street, NY NY 10030. It’s a grand old house run by a hospitable couple. You’ll get a lovely room with bathroom en suite, as well as the shared use of a kitchen, living room and garden. Photos below.

Recommended restaurant

Spend a couple of hours at the Shrine in Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard, soak up the jazz, then move next door for a meal at Yatenga.

The photos

Me at a Harlem subway station, West 135th Street:

We stayed at Easy Living Harlem, in 137th Street:

A closer look at the house where we stayed – it’s the dark red one in the centre:

The view from our window. The neighbours are getting ready for a Memorial Day barbecue:

A general view of Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard in Harlem. It’s generously wide – this is just the right-hand side of the street:

Flowers, a fire hydrant, and the NYPD:

When in Harlem, jazz is a must. Our landlady recommended the Shrine. She was right, it’s the place to chill out and soak up some vibes. This picture shows Yatenga French Bistro (yellow) and the Shrine (white awning) on Adam Clayton Powell Jr Boulevard:

Jamming at the Shrine with Lu Reid and guests:

The band in action:

That’s all for today, dudes.

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Published in: on 29 May 2012 at 10:18 pm  Comments (1)  
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Times Square, New York

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC hit New York a couple of days ago. On our first evening, we wandered into Times Square quite by chance. It was that magic time when day is just about to yield to night. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, make sure you catch the square at that time. It was perfect.

My impressions? This is where it’s all at.

The book I’m in

The Serbian Dane, by Leif Davidsen. Yes, still here. There’s been so much happnin (see, I’m picking up the lingo) in New York and Chicago, so the TC hasn’t had much time to move me to a different book.

The photos

Me in Times Square, junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue:

Elmo was there too:

So was this mime artist:

The square got its name in 1904, when the New York Times took up residence in one of the buildings on the square.

Click the play button for a full 360-degree view of Times Square:

This M&M saw us out of the square:

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 29 May 2012 at 12:06 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chicago at dusk

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC have just left Chicago,sometimes  fondly called Chitown or the Windy City. It was a bit draughty at times, but this worm hails from Cape Town in South Africa. Chicago’s breezes pale in comparison to the infamous Cape South Easter.

In farewell to the beautiful city of Chicago, I’ll show you some scenes of the streets and pubs at dusk.

My impressions? Twinkling lights, glowing water, translucent sky.

The book I’m in

The Serbian Dane, by Leif Davidsen. Engaging characters, good story.

Recommended restaurants

Have a drink and a pub meal at Monk’s Pub, corner of Lake and Wells, for great atmosphere and great beer. Eat the peanuts and throw the shells on the floor. The soft crunching underfoot adds to the atmosphere.

The photos

Me at Monk’s Pub, Lake Street in downtown Chicago:

As you can see in the above picture, the walls of the pub are lined with books. A haven for folk like me. What’s more, someone has cut the books in half. They must have used a circular saw. This is good for worms who want to finish a book in half the usual time.

The Chicago river at dusk:

A city with its name in lights:

The House of Blues:

Inside the House of Blues, the decor is richly beautiful:

Although the sound quality was not good (booming and warped) the singer created a great atmosphere:

That’s all for today, dudes.

Downtown Chicago, a train runs through it

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Me and the TC are in downtown Chicago. “Downtown” just means the city centre. Did you know that? This worm did not, until quite recently. I assumed it meant the more grungy areas of the city, even though “the lights are so much brighter there, you can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares…”

Faithful readers of my blog will notice that this is the second post in a row in which this humble worm admits to a mistake. Is the end of the world nigh?

Chicago is lovely, and quite different from any other city I’ve been in. Clean, tranquil, packed full of architectural splendour. And through it runs a bizarre railway line on a no-nonsense iron and wooden track, elevated some few metres above the ground.

My impressions? Magnificent architecture, with a train running through it.

The book I’m in

The Serbian Dane, by Leif Davidsen. I’ve just started this one. It’s promising, so far. Good fast action.

Recommended restaurants

Drop into one of the Chipotle Mexican Grills for good quality, delicious food, and fast service.

The photos

Me at a Chipotle restaurant, with a Mexican meal in front of me and the elevated Chicago railway track visible through the window behind me:

Press the play button to see and hear a train rumbling over the track:

The track is made of very solid and utilitarian iron and wood. Just like any other railway track, really, except that it’s above ground. They’re normal trains, and it’s not a monorail.

The TC and I walked around under the railway struts, feeling as if murder and mayhem should be breaking out all round us. The locals just take it in their stride.

The track winds its way through the gorgeous buildings, and even between people’s houses, at rooftop level, almost scraping the verandah rails. This worm found it very very odd. Here is the view from our hotel window, looking down on the railway as it disappears into a station amongst the skyscrapers:

The Wrigley Building, white with clock tower, and the Gothic-style Tribune Tower with its flying buttresses:

Reflections wriggling in the blue glass of a Chicago building:

A train crossing the Chicago river:

The gold-capped Carbide and Carbon building, surrounded by other blocks:

Zooming in close to the Carbide and Carbon building:

The designer of this tower took pains to make the roof the same colour as the Chicago sky. It makes for an interesting effect, even more noticeable in real life than in the picture:

A water taxi and one of the bridges over the Chicago river:

Underneath a Chicago bridge, showing the typical brown iron colouring, also reflected in the window of the building next door:

The John Hancock building:

A view of the city from the top of the John Hancock tower:

The shores of Lake Michigan, seen from the top of the John Hancock tower:

That’s all for today, dudes.

Published in: on 28 May 2012 at 12:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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A quick crawl around Oahu, Hawaii

This is the blog of Mark Wordsworm, the travelling worm. I’m a 25-year-old bookmark and can proudly boast my own Hallmark serial number, 95 HBM 80-1. You’ll probably want to read all about me and my Travelling Companion (the TC).

Today’s travel notes

Making our way from Sydney to Chicago, we spent yesterday on Oahu, the most populated of the Hawaiian islands and home to the city of Honolulu. It’s not often that this worm admits to a mistake, but I do confess that up to a few weeks ago I thought Honolulu was on the island of Hawaii. If prodded (which is probably not a good thing to do to a worm) I may even admit that I assumed Waikiki was an island itself. But no, it’s a suburb of Honolulu.

We landed at Honolulu airport, spent a couple of hours getting lost in the city and surrounds, then found our hotel in Waikiki. Early next morning we enjoyed a couple more hours getting lost in the city, before finding the road that leads east. We drove across the island to Kaneohe on the east coast, then north to Kahuku, then back inland via Haleiwa and Wahiawa. We narrowly missed Pearl Harbor and caught our Chicago flight by the skin of our teeth.

The TC did not brush her hair all day.

My impressions? Honolulu is a city much like any other, and caters very well to the TC’s proclivity for getting lost. The east coast of the island is gorgeous. I want to go back and see the rest of it.

The book I’m in

The Midnight Road, by Tom Piccirilli. Satisfyingly weird, this book starts with the words, “Flynn remembered the night of his death more clearly than any other in his life”. I’m in the middle of the book, and wishing the TC would find the time to move me on a few pages so that I can see what happens to Flynn and the ghosts that populate his life.

Recommended airline

Hawaiian Airlines is friendly and efficient, and keeps the fuss of US travel down to a minimum.

The photos

Me at Kualoa Point, on the east coast of Oahu. With a palm tree, of course:

Honolulu, seen from one of the surrounding hills:

Palm trees, of course, outside our hotel in Waikiki:

The military presence on the island is noticeable. This number plate, spotted in a Honolulu parking garage by the TC once removed, is a case in point:

When we were in the queue at the airport waiting for the security checks, there was an army dude in full military togs in front of the TC. One of the officials leaned in and informed him very respectfully that he could take the express queue next time.

A military aircraft and a palm tree, of course:

The velvety striated range of hills that lines the east coast:

Mokolii Island, seen from Waikane on the east coast of Oahu:

A closer view of Mokolii, also known as Chinaman’s Hat island because of its shape:

Kualoa Point:

A Red Crested Cardinal, pretty but beady-eyed and not a worm’s best friend:

The TC admiring the view. Yes, it’s a bit gusty. And as I remarked before, she did not brush her hair all day. I think this preyed on her mind. I was careful not to remark on her dishevelled state, even after she boarded the aeroplane that evening.

Another gorgeous beach somewhere on the east coast. Probably Laie Bay. Applause to the photographer – no palm trees in close view:

Water. I steered clear, of course, but the TC has no such qualms:

Is a worm nowhere safe? First the Red Crested Cardinal, and now a Peahen lying in wait in a stairwell at Waimea Botanical Gardens. Neither bird is native to Hawaii, I might add:

Me, making a tactical retreat from a Peacock:

A steep hillock in Waimea Valley:

A Hawaiian temple, or heiau, at Waimea. This one is dedicated to Lono, the god of agriculture. It’s called the Hale o Lono, which means “house of Lono”, and was built between 1470 and 1700 AD.

The colourful bark of a Mindanao gum tree, spotted at Wahiawa. This gum tree is native to western Pacific islands such as Papua New Guinea and the Phillipines. Not, surprisingly, to Australia. It was introduced into Hawaii in the late 1920s.

At this point we remembered that we had a plane to catch, and hare-tailed it out of there. Alas, we spotted some signs to Pearl Harbor and decided to drop in. We got lost (again). We were definitely in the area:

By the time we saw the official signs we were already late:

We did go down that route, but discovered that seeing Pearl Harbor is a big deal involving boat trips and the abandonment of all bags, purses, large cameras, and what have you.

So we got on a plane to Chicago instead. More on that in my next post.